On Frontiers. An essay


What does the frontier mean for the Romanians, or, in this respect, for any kind of community which was systematically and for a long period of time stopped from going across it? With how much fascination would the Romanians have regarded the frontiers during Communism? The frontier acquires new meanings in a world thrown by its own political system or by various ideologies to the peripheries of Europe and this happens because, as Alain Brossat notices, ‘the frontier is a territory of variable dimensions and depths, and whose property is less topological (a separation line) but rather political: a space governed by special rules – themselves variable – and whose relations with the territory are susceptible to alter according to circumstances’.[1]

At the level of collective mentality, frontiers, especially those defined and shaped from 19thcentury (considered the Century of the Nations in Europe) onward preserve the myth of the fortress in a siege; they function starting from the idea of an unsecure space which needs to be continually defended. When the threat is not there, when the enemy neither exists nor has the desire to conquer he has to be invented in order to justify the mere necessity of the border to exist and to be protected at all costs. This scenario is brilliantly exposed in J.M Coetzee`s novel, “Waiting for the Barbarians”. There, an Empire prepares for war against an enemy never seen or known. The Barbarians, whose existence is barely proven, justify the abolition of human rights and turn the whole society into a sophisticated, cruel and cynical war machine.

At the same time, a frontier creates and disseminates the sense of belonging; with the invention of the na… Citește mai mult On Frontiers. An essay